This past Monday, it was reported that following this season, the CAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will move from Charleston to … drum roll please: Washington, D.C.! As much as we loved visiting beautiful Charleston, S.C. to root on our Green and Gold, when taking a quick look at where CAA teams are currently located, it makes complete sense that the league is moving away from its southern-most point (Charleston) to a more central location such as Washington, D.C.
Moreover, the site for the tournament (which will be held in D.C. from 2020-2022), is the Entertainment & Sports Arena. E&S Arena is a brand-new 4,200-seat facility, which will eventually be the home court of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NBA G-League’s Capital City Go-Go. Per eventsdc.com, “the building is currently in the final stages of construction and is scheduled to open this September.”
And to say this is a boon for William & Mary would likely be an understatement. Prior to the tournament’s move to Charleston, it was played in Baltimore, M.D. at Royal Farms Arena. Tribe fans who were in Baltimore at the time will fondly remember the pandemonium that ensued following Daniel Dixon‘s game-winning 3-point shot in the semifinals against Hofstra. But just as impressive as that shot were the William & Mary fans’ that showed up in force for both the semifinal and finals that season. William & Mary was, by far, the school with the greatest fan representation in the tournament that year.
With such a large percentage of W&M’s in-state students hailing from Northern Virginia (the famed “NOVA”), it is perhaps no surprise that the biggest Tribe diaspora exists in the Washington, D.C. area (if you were wondering what the definition of diaspora is: the dispersion of any people from their original homeland — naturally, that means Williamsburg for us). That’s why Tribe fans showed up in force in Baltimore, just a 1.5 hour drive from Washington, D.C., and that’s why we strongly believe they will pack E&S arena come 2020 and beyond. But that got us thinking: just how many William & Mary alums currently live in and around the D.C. area? How does that stack up to other CAA alumni bases? Just how significant could this “home court” advantage be?
Now, it wasn’t a perfect science, but we at the W&M Sports Blog did some digging. For our data source, we used LinkedIn to gather information from each school’s page to better understand where their alumni lived. Obviously, this data does not encompass all living alumni for a school, but it’s a pretty darn good, and fairly representative, sample size.
Check out the results in the infographic below, which details the total # of alumni for each school who have indicated that they are currently living in the Washington, D.C. area.
Unsurprisingly, the three schools that will benefit the most from the CAA Tournament’s move are JMU, Towson, and William & Mary — three schools situated relatively close to the D.C. area. If one of these three teams performs well in the regular season (say, a top 3 finish), you can surely expect their alumni base to show up in force to the CAA Tournament; it’ll be a home court advantage, for sure.
It also goes without saying that in the creation of this infographic, we did not take into account an alumni base’s propensity to travel — you’ll surely see a lot more UNCW teal in D.C. come February 2020 when the tournament is held. We’re also not adjusting for the fact that many of these schools are several times bigger than a school like W&M or Elon, so other schools’ alumni numbers are just naturally larger.
Any way you look at it, we at the W&M Sports Blog are beyond excited for this move. It can only help the Tribe in its effort to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. But let’s not wait for next season. Let’s make it this year.
LET’S GO TRIBE!!!